Take a bite out of the Other Big Apple…
Philly that is.
My third trip to Philadelphia (not counting all those times me and the Boyfriend went down to campaign for Obama’s second term) over Labor Day weekend made me think that it is a good idea to talk to strangers..
You can learn some things by doing so…like where to eat or why it’s good to get engaged to a teacher…maybe I’ll reveal that in another post.
We wouldn’t have been lucky enough to eat El Rey’s Chile en Nogada (spectacular!) or sampled their speakeasy (almost needed a flashlight to read the drink menu)––accessed by walking through the kitchen––had it not been for the nice gentlemen bartenders at 1 Tippling Place (who also told us to make a reservation at Vernick’s for dinner the next evening, which we did.)
The Boyfriend used Yelp some and found establishments patronized by local Philly folk, like the laid back and friendly neigborhood bar Krupa’s, which made us feel like we were making good choices. Though, there will be times when you stumble on to good spots all by yourself, as we did during the 2012 campaign when we walked into a corner store in Strawberry Mansion that served up one of the most memorable oxtails and collard greens I have eaten.
We stayed in downtown Philly and walked to everything.
We spent good hours around Independence Hall and in the Art Museum where we took in a vivacious Patrick Kelly exhibit. Incidentally, the Made in America concert was going on right outside the Museum and, at one point, the staff had to rope off one gallery in the contemporary art section for fear that an objet d’art would brain a visitor. (Maybe a ‘no-brainer’ to hold eardrum-busting events elsewhere?)
Philadelphia, you’ve been in a decline since your hey day as factories closed and residents fled en masse––over half a million. And you’ve got some serious urban blight going on with neighborhoods glutted with burned out, boarded-up houses and buildings. I walked through your sad blocks during the campaign and thought how it looked like a war had been by. And your poverty rate of 28% is highest among the nation’s top ten cities, which means your homeless population is heartbreakingly large.
But gosh what a great city you are! Run-down houses and blighted blocks cannot diminish the bright, hard-working spirit of your people. I think you really are the City of Brotherly Love.